Letter to Teenage Bride, Asake

Hello Asake,

This is your favourite letter writer. Remember me, I am the one who knows your past, present and future. I sat at your father’s corridor six months ago when Baba Ajani came knocking. I see all things, even the thoughts of men. Baba Ajani, on the way, thought of your father a thief- a man who didn’t work much but got a lot of profits. He has forgotten that all good things come from me.

Ever since the floods swept his lands clean and spoilt his farm produce, he has been looking for a cheap bride for his son, Ajani. Your father opened the door with his lips spread wide and his arms open to hug Baba Ajani, his co-farmer. A few minutes later, your mother, who plaited some beautiful cornrows on your head the day before, brought out a plate of Iyan, egusi and eran for your guests. No man negotiates on an empty stomach.

At the end of the negotiations, Baba Ajani broke some kola nuts and you were theirs or rather, Ajani’s. You could no longer go to school. Why would you, after all? A wife, no matter how young, must focus on raising children.

You cried as you left but your father turned his eyes away from you. He loves you but you needed to build a home you could call your own. Why would you, at the age of sixteen, be crying? You are a woman, you see your nnkan osu. So you toughened up like your mother said you should.

But now, you cry more than ever. You miss school. You miss playing tinko tinko with your friends in the village square. You have to bother about what your husband will eat, even when he doesn’t give you the money. Your mother taught you never to raise your voice at your husband when he shouts. Sometimes, he calls you a fool for making simple mistakes and when he comes back drunk, he beats you up.

You do not speak to me. I love you. I look forward to the times we can have morning devotions like we did during school days. I watch out for you when your parents come to church on Sunday. I see you as you groan. I wish you would come to me with your heavy-laden burdens.

But you are scared. You think I will not believe like your parents do. You are scared that I will judge you. I love you, Asake. Even though you are battered and in need of a fixup, I love you. You are beautiful, Asake.

You are gold. No matter what happens, you can always walk up to me. Pray to me about Ajani. Ask me to soften his heart for the hearts of men are in my hands.

Asake, you are mine. When next will I see you come to my presence with your beautiful adire dress and well-plaited hair?

Till then, I am your God and you are my Gem.

Yours sincerely,

ABBA


To every teenage bride out there, married against their will, never lose hope. You are gold, regardless. Nothing less.


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